Gaten Matarazzo, 10, of Little Egg Harbor Township, picked the best time to tryout for the 25th anniversary production of "Les Miserables."
The musical is very popular at the moment with the movie version, starring Hugh Jackman, earning more than $148 million at the box office. Anne Hathaway won a best supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of the character Fantine. The Blu-ray and DVD were released Friday.
Matarazzo, a fifth grader at George J. Mitchell Elementary School, kept auditioning and landed the role of Gavroche and will be a part of the national tour until August.
"I started auditioning when I was 7, and they kept saying I was too small. They finally gave it to me this time," Matarazzo said.
In the role of Gavroche, Matarazzo is a clever little homeless boy, who is running around in the streets. He finds out things people need to know. In the second act, he is in the revolution with his friends.
Matarazzo flew to North Charleston, S.C., on Feb. 19 for rehearsals and made his debut March 6 in Sarasota, Fla.
"I was so excited, and I was even a little nervous, and I usually don't get nervous on stage," Matarazzo said. "I couldn't wait to do it again (after his first show). I couldn't believe I will be doing it for six months. I knew it was going to be a very fun tour."
Matarazzo also will be performing in Fort Myers, Fla., Columbia, S.C., Baltimore, New Haven, Conn., and June and July in Canada.
Trinity Wheeler has been impressed with the preteen's acting.
"Gaten has such an actor's attention to detail at such a young age. His Gavroche brings a heartbreaking innocence and courage to the production," said Wheeler, production stage manager of the new 25th anniversary production of "Les Miserables.
Matarazzo has not hit his teenage years yet, and he is already building up credits like a theater professional. Matarazzo has already been on Broadway as a member of the cast of "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and has been part of the tour for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Sabrina Matarazzo, Gaten's 14-year-old sister, was the first one in the family to do anything in show business.
Sabrina Matarazzo appeared in a Google commercial, and she and Gaten sang together at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in 2009 in New York.
"He saw his sister doing it. He was very much compelled to follow in her footsteps. I'm just there to help it happen," said Heather Matarazzo, Gaten's mother, who is a stay-at-home mom and out on the road with him.
While on the road, Matarazzo has some long days. The production runs from 8 to
11 p.m. He will not head to bed until after midnight, and he has to be ready to be tutored in his school subjects by 11 a.m. When Gaten is not performing, he and his mother will head to a playground or the movies. They also spend time with the four other children in the production and their parents, Heather Matarazzo said.
When "Les Miserables" returns to Broadway in 2014, the preteen would like to be in the show, but his mother said he may be too old at that point.
"Gavroche has been my dream role since I was 7. I'm so honored to be in the show," Matarazzo said.
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